TECH DOMESTICATION

The Bouroullec brothers have developed a new TV, Serif, in conjunction with Samsung and launched it during London Design week. Serif has divided opinions in terms of design and form. Many were surprised by their approach towards the TV, which is treated more as a piece of furniture than a tech-product. However, seeing the rise in soft tech and fem tech, as well as a heightened attention to the contextual fit of technology, it is less surprising.

In many ways, despite your feelings towards the final design aesthetic, Serif has made a statement commentating on contemporary design language surrounding TVs — flat with minimal personality.

Their approach is refreshing and should be a reminder to designers and brands that technology often lives in low tech domestic environments which are curated by the inhabitant to be human and warm.

In a statement from the studio they declared that the “Serif TV does not belong to the world of technology but the world of furniture and design.” Arguably this is true for Serif, but should other brands be adopting this approach? Could this bring fresh innovation to a market place that is looking evermore 2D, minimal and devoid of personality?

Serif is not only interested in terms of its approach towards re-domesticating technology but also its UI design poses interesting questions about using algorithms to create ephemeral effects for consumers. The “curtain mode” is a step towards this.

Interestingly this ephemeral effect offers a “present, yet recessive, role for the TV”. This is key for consumers who are seeking slower media and calmer visual / digital experiences, as suggested by Living with Future Britain by OMD. Today’s consumers are moving away from an “always-on” culture, where they are constantly engaging, to an ‘on / off’ culture, dipping in and out of moments. In the near future is it possible to suggest that the physical interpretation of ‘on/off’ culture will become more like ‘pause/engage’. The curtain mode is an example of this — a product which is physically always on but automatically ‘awakens’ and engages with you when you are ready.

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